Sweet Summer Nightgown for Girls – Super Easy, Lazy Pattern

Beautiful, easy nightgown!

I have a soap box I need to stand on for a minute. I hate, hate, hate the flame-retardant material used in nightgowns for kids. The fabric feels nasty to me, and (perhaps the bigger problem), having these nightgowns in my house is a constant reminder of the power the tobacco industry has wielded in the US. Seriously; by influencing national legislation to require flame-retardant materials in PJs that aren’t tight fitting (by definition, all nightgowns), the tobacco industry was able to save a ton of money on lawsuits. When parents smoked in bed and caught the house on fire, kids sleepwear was less likely to go up in flames. This legislation is so restrictive that cotton fabrics meant for children even have to carry a warning on the selvage:

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So, yeah. If you want a nice, breathable cotton nightgown for sweltering summer nights, you have to make it yourself. Or go to Europe, where you can actually buy such things. Making one seemed a little easier, so that’s what I did. More

Girl’s No-Pattern Mermaid Costume – Easy and Beautiful!

Easy DIY Mermaid Costume by Beautiful Entropy

So, W announced the other day that she Desperately Needed A Mermaid Costume. We’ve been doing a lot of swimming this summer (and playing mermaids), so I suspect that was the genesis. I’m not a big fan of pre-fab costumes; they’re cheaply made for what they cost, and I figured that the odds of finding a non-Disney* mermaid costume (without doing an Etsy order) were pretty slim. Anyway, in her typical W way, since she didn’t want something Ariel-specific, I knew she would have lots of STRONG opinions about how the costume should look, so I turned to the Interwebs.

*We have nothing against Disney, but W isn’t a big fan of those cartoons; she finds them horrifyingly scary – which, if you think about it, they kinda are (I’m lookin’ at you, Lion King).

I found this excellent tutorial, which I used (with some modifications) for the tail portion of the costume. I just sort of winged it on the top. One thing I tried to keep in mind throughout was building in room for growth; specialty fabric isn’t cheap, and while the costume didn’t require advanced sewing skills, it took a while (about 4 hours, though I was slowed down by the constant running commentary, offers to “help,” and requests for status updates from the peanut gallery). Anyway, by building in some growing room, I figure I’ll be off the hook on another mermaid outfit for at least 2-3 years. I’ve provided my tips for building in room to grow in the instructions below, though bear in mind that my child appears to grow UP without adding any significant girth; she can add 4 inches in height without putting on a single pound. As such, I worried only about costume length. If your child also grows out (as normal kids do…) you might need to modify the “room to grow” instructions, or leave them out entirely. More

Dress Restyle – Fall to Summer

Dress restyle by Beautiful Entropy

I restyled a dress of W’s a while ago, and am only now getting around to posting about it. The dress was a cute long-sleeved bubble style, great for fall but not so useful here in AZ, where it’s summer for about 10 months of the year. I decided to remove the sleeves and use the material to make cute flowers for the neckline, in addition to new flutter sleeves. It was an easy project, as restyles go.

I started by cutting off the sleeves with a pair of scissors. I left the serged seam where the sleeves had originally been attached to the dress intact; I planned to use it as a foundation for attaching the new sleeves. On the top 2/3 of the armhole, I cut the sleeve off as close as possible to that serged seam. On the lower 1/3, which would remain sleeveless, I left a small strip of sleeve fabric in place that I could eventually use to cover and finish the serged seam. More

“Onesie Hacks”: Part 3 — The Ultra-Simple Ruffle Dress

Onesie to dress conversion by Beautiful Entropy

This is the third (and likely final) post in my “Onesie Hacks” series. If you haven’t yet, be sure to also check out Part 1 (“The Punky Little Pixie Dress”) and Part 2 (“The Soft and Sweet Dress”). This is definitely the simplest of the hacks, requiring only a onesie and a strip of fabric, a few seams, and (maybe the best part) no measuring!!

I started with this cute little “Aloha” onesie that I hacked the bottom off to make a raw-edged shirt.

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Because of the Hawaiian vibe, I used some coordinating batik fabric with a sort of palm frond look to it. My daughter likes her dresses to hit about half-way between the knee and hip; this way, they can be worn alone without being indecent, or worn over capris or tight-fitting shorts for a cute layered look. I didn’t measure the strip of batik fabric, I just kind of eyeballed it. The strip I cut was about 5 inches wide and somewhat longer than the hem of the shirt. The longer you make the strip, the more gathered and ruffly the skirt will be. More

Converting Winter PJs to Summer PJs

Winter to summer PJ conversion tutorial by Beautiful Entropy

Here in AZ, spring comes early, so we’re already changing over from long pant/long sleeve pajamas to shorties. Many of my toddler’s (W, age 2) winter PJs were a little on the big side this year, so I’m keeping them in the hopes that they’ll still fit in the fall. Some, however, were getting a little short in the legs and/or sleeves. Normally when W outgrows clothes, provided they’re in good shape, I take them down to the local resale store so I can get trade-in credit. Two pairs of winter PJs, though, were ratty enough that I knew they wouldn’t have any resale value. They were still wearable, though, so rather than donate them, I decided to convert them into shorts/short sleeve pajamas for summer, given that they still fit around the waist. There are two ways to do this; I went with one of each for the purposes of “sew and tell.” More

“Onesie Hacks”: Part 2 – the Soft and Sweet Dress

Onesie to sweet dress conversion by Beautiful Entropy As I mentioned in the first post in my “Onesie Hacks” series, there are lots of good reasons to transform a onesie into something else. Some babies and toddlers don’t fit into onesies well, onesies and cloth diapers don’t generally mix, and most kids outgrow onesies in length before they outgrow them in girth. Still, since onesies are baby and toddler clothing staples and are inexpensive (especially from the secondhand store!), it’s cost effective to be able to get non-onesie use out of the ubiquitous union suit.

My second onesie hack was designed for a very strange onesie that I bought my daughter from a local bookstore. It was very wide relative to its length, so with the bottom removed, it made a fairly roomy (but strangely short) shirt. Consequently, I needed a much longer skirt on it than I put on the pixie dress to make up for the missing length, and also so that it would fit for a nice long time and cover underwear, in the likely event that it still fit after potty training.

Screen Shot 2013-03-03 at 9.32.24 AM As with previous onesie hacks, I started by removing the lower portion with a rotary cutter (though as always, scissors will work too). I went through my fabric stash looking for something coordinating and fun. Since the shirt was funky and casual (envelope neck, goofy slogan, bookstore logo on the back), I decided to make a dress that had a definitively playful look. Some soft jersey that I’d gotten from the bargain barrel at JoAnn Crafts fit the bill nicely. As an aside, I always check the clearance fabric when I’m at JoAnn; even if I don’t have a project in mind when I buy it, as long as it’s attractive fabric, I know I’ll find a use for it eventually! More

“Onesie Hacks”: Part 1 — the Punky Little Pixie Dress

Onesie to pixie dress conversion by Beautiful EntropySo, I’ve never been a fan of onesies for W. When she was younger, she wore cloth diapers, and onesies just never fit well. From about 18 months on, she would have been really insulted if I’d tried to put one on her; she considered them “baby clothes,” and she is a “BID DUWL” (big girl). Because I have a lot of onesies around — both from gifts people gave her and because of really neat ones that I found at the secondhand store and couldn’t resist — I have implemented a series of “onesie hacks” to transform them into something cute. As a bonus, even kids who will wear onesies generally outgrow them in length before they outgrow them in girth. These onesie hacks solve that problem and allow another season — or at least another few months — of wear. For those of you who are sewing-challenged, fear not; as you can clearly see from this post, I’m a really, REALLY lazy and minimally-skilled seamstress. I’m not a fan of measuring things when I can avoid it, I take shortcuts wherever I can, and I don’t use patterns. More